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Help Poppies Farm create an outdoor SEND classroom

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Hi there my name is Jo and I’m fundraising to enable Poppies Farm to create an outdoor “classroom” and space for learning, development of self confidence and boosting mental well-being for Adults and Children using farm and domestic animals.

Here’s our story…

Our family has owned the farm since 1972, I grew up here and had the most amazing childhood. When I had children, I really wanted them to be able to have the upbringing that I had. My daughter was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Difference (I don't see it as a Disorder). She has suffered terribly with Anxiety and a sense of not fitting in. This became extremely difficult for her in secondary school.

She became a school refuser, something that I didn't even know existed! I then became an expert in trying to get your teenager to attend school. After many years of heartache and sadness, I decided to try to help her with Animal Therapy.

I obtained some planning permission for various buildings in 2013, however, there was a view in the planning department within the council that I was not agricultural enough for a barn and a temporary caravan to live in. Also, I really don't think they understood the great benefits from being in the great outdoors. I appealed the decision and won permission for the barn. we are still battling for a temporary dwelling on the property. The planning process was very long, a year, in that time I had to pay for the councils various planning application fees and even had to pay for their consultants costs. Their first consultant agreed with my application, but the Council decided to refuse anyway. I also had to employ several professionals to give reports to the council as they would not accept mine. The rental properties in the area are too expensive and not close enough to the farm for me to tend to the animals promptly.

The long and short of it is, I now have students from local schools attending and benefiting from the farming life. I don't have the funds to finish building the classroom and out door area. Planning has cost, so far, a total of £130k, £40k on the appeal alone which I half won. I still have to submit new planning permission for temporary residency at the farm. I would love to be able to get the classroom finished for September. Somewhere where the children can write about their experience on the farm, somewhere to relax and socialise with each other and build on their social skills.

Any amount that you can donate will be added to the building fund, you are welcome to visit the farm and see how we help people of all ages.

Thank you so much for reading and hopefully I have explained our predicament, however, any questions, please feel free to look at the website,

Best wishes

Farmer Jo


Louise Spencer

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